Listening to “Her Loss” was really our loss

The album cover for “Her Loss” depicts artist Qui Yasuka, and was chosen by Miles McCollum, professionally known as Lil Yachty. Photo credit:

By Dhanveer Gill, Assistant Managing Editor



Rappers Drake and 21 Savage have established themselves as a rap duo, but “Her Loss” did little to cement themselves as iconic and groundbreaking. This was a weak year for the trap music genre, and neither of these artists’ efforts restored the genre to its former glory in any meaningful way.

Drake and 21 Savage performing together on October 19, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Forbes.

Trap has had a rough year. Future’s “I NEVER LIKED YOU” and Gunna’s “DS4EVER” were met with mediocre reviews earlier this year, and these projects were relegated to become footnotes in both artists’ extensive discographies. While hits such as “WAIT FOR YOU (feat. Drake & Tems)” and “pushin P (feat. Young Thug)” dominated the radio waves, their respective albums could not hardly be described as memorable or creative records. “Her Loss” could have been the savior that the genre was looking for.

This album was originally teased in the music video for “Jimmy Cooks”, which also featured a guest verse from 21 Savage (although the record was delayed to November 4). While this was not their first collaboration, it certainly is their most remarkable. 21’s short but iconic verse on “Knife Talk” was an indicator of what “Her Loss” could offer, but his signature flair and attitude is missing in several places on this record.

Bluntly put: this album is tough to digest, but in the wrong ways. It lacks insight and falls short on the few (and often uninteresting or overtly toxic) ideas that it “wrestles” with. It is stage music at best, but there are better songs to be played with a crowd that do not involve excessive complaints about previous lovers. With that being said, this album still deserves a listen, simply to appreciate its production quality and occasional one-liners.

For starters, 21 Savage feels missing from this album. After examining the track list, Drake has four songs that lack any vocals from 21, compared to the latter’s sole solo track, titled “3AM on Glenwood”. This difference in stage time brings new meaning to the bar “I jump on your song and make you sound like you the feature”, which Savage raps in an attempt to brag on the track “On BS”, but the irony of being the afterthought to Drake’s long tirades about women refusing to give him the attention he believes he deserves is comedic. Even when he does appear, he comes across as a “sore winner”, as NPR described him and Drake in their review. The best way Savage’s role in the album can be summarized is to consider the track “Hours In Silence”, an almost seven-minute long song which features just eight bars from the Atlanta rapper.

The track list was revealed on November 3, just hours before the album went live. Photo credit: @OVOSound on Twitter.

The content of the lyrics themselves are, by most measures, repetitive and dull. While highlights include Savage rapping “I don’t show ID at clubs, they know that I’m 21”, Drake’s lyrics are often questionable, if not blatantly toxic. Several influential figures are dissed throughout “Her Loss”, ranging from Ye to Serena Williams, though one has to question the morality of insulting the late rapper XXXTENTACION and insinuating that Drake himself put out the hit that got him killed. Drake raps: “Damn, maybe I should do a twenty, maybe I should break that twenty, do a ten/Maybe I should break that ten, do a five, then if it gets live, do a five again/If he held his tongue on that live, he’d be alive again, damn”. The numbers add up to 30, which is the equivalent of the Roman number XXX, and XXXTENTACION himself famously dissed Drake, his mother, and his record label on Instagram Live. Creative wordplay for sure, but distasteful at the same time.

The lyrics of this album do not advance the themes of “Her Loss” to the listener, in fact, they sound like a monologue that refuses to end. The best (or perhaps, worse?) example of this is the track “Middle of the Ocean”, which drones on for nearly six minutes, and the “Cry Together” sample fails to alleviate any sense of boredom. Additionally, referencing Lil Wayne (Drake’s mentor) and featuring an outro from Birdman (essentially Wayne’s arch nemesis and former father figure) on the same track is confusing and feels out of place. The hooks of “Major Distribution” and “On BS”, as well as the second half of “Broke Boys” also suffer the same fate, as they all rely on repetition of the same phrases and are begging to be skipped. While repetition is not inherently a bad thing, some interesting delivery or vocal effects would have been welcomed.

With all of the negatives aside, “Her Loss” possesses the typical dose of premium-sounding Drake beats. With 21 Savage on this record, Drake finally gets his ticket to play as the villain, and he refuses to hold back during the opening tracks, with dark and dangerous bars laid over elaborate and well-constructed beats including “Major Distribution” and “On BS”. The samples on the record range from Daft Punk to The Isley Brothers, although the former is almost inaudible and not instantly recognizable, which stands in contrast to the “24’s” sample by T.I. which can be heard on “Rich Flex” (however, some vocal layering could have done wonders to emphasize the interpolation).

A largely absent collaborator, combined with unimaginative lyrics over nostalgic sounds, leads to an empty project. However, “Her Loss” still deserves a listen, as it has some interesting lines and excellent beat switches, although there are other records that deserve more time in playlist rotations.

In the end, “Her Loss” is yet more proof that trap music needs a revival in 2023.